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Sunday, September 19

Warriors Stage Dramatic Rally to Repeat As State Champs (box score)

In a dramatic seventh inning rally in the second game on Sunday, Woodbury scored three runs to pull out a 3-2 victory over the Minnetonka Saints and repeat as the Classic League State Champs. After being stymied all day by lefty Kevin Burns, who started both games for the Saints on championship Sunday, and trailing 2-0 going to the last half inning, a leadoff hit by Jerry Ross surprisingly knocked Burns from the game. With Joe Perzel in relief, the Warriors put together two singles and two doubles to overcome the 2-run deficit and seal the victory. The final run came with two outs and the bases loaded on a line shot single to left-center by Doug Berfeldt.

Rick Forrest started the second game on one day’s rest and went the first 4+ innings before running into some trouble in the 5th. But Cam Biberdorf relieved, got out of the jam, and then held the Saints scoreless the rest of the way for the victory.

A second game was only necessary because the Saints, who already had one loss, came out inspired in the first game and took a 5-1 victory (box score). Woodbury starter Rob Beard deserved a better outcome, but was let down by a couple defensive lapses and no run support. Woodbury could only muster one run on after getting down 4-0 early in the game.

The lack of offense continued into the second game, and defeat looked almost certain heading into the bottom of the seventh, with Burns having given up only 1 run in 13 innings. But, the Warriors showed they were not going to give up the championship trophy without a fight and never quit, even though their backs were to the wall. Continuing a theme they had established during the 2004 season, the victory was the 7th in which the Warriors scored the winning run in their last at-bat.

Friday, September 10

Warriors Advance in State Tournament (box score)

For the second straight year, Woodbury knocked the Minnetonka Lakers into the loser’s bracket of the Classic League State Tournament, beating the Lakers 7-1, although the game was much closer than the score indicated. In a rematch of opposing pitchers from last year’s winner’s bracket championship game, Woodbury’s Kent Rogers and Minnetonka’s Jim Wheeler hooked up in a what was a pretty good pitching duel for the most part.

The Lakers jumped off to a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning and it stayed that way until Woodbury’s half of the fourth inning when Bob Kaufer drove a clutch 2-out double to the left center gap, scoring 2 runs. In a very close play at the plate, Doug Berfeldt would have been out but the Minnetonka catcher failed to hold the ball on a hard slide. Although that would prove to be the only runs that Rogers and the Warriors would need, Woodbury tacked on four insurance runs in the sixth inning and one more in the seventh, taking advantage of a several good bounces and seeing eye ground balls.

Rogers went the distance, scattering six hits and three walks, while striking out five. He was backed up by some very stellar defense including two double plays. Kaufer led Woodbury’s 11 hit attack with a single, double, a run scored and two RBIs. Berfeldt also had a single and a double, scored a run and drove in another.

For the second straight year, Woodbury advances to the winner’s bracket championship game. This year the opponent is the regular season champ Minnetonka Saints, who beat JT’s 3-1 in their semi-final game. Woodbury lost all 3 league games against the Saints this year and hopes the fourth time is a charm. The game will be played Friday, September 17 at Alimagnet #1 in Burnsville.

Wednesday, September 1

Warriors Pull Out Win Against Northfield (box score)

In the first round of the Classic League playoffs, against a team they had already beaten three times this year, Woodbury needed some late inning heroics to pull out a 3-2 victory over the Northfield Millers. Trailing 2-0 with two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the 6th, the Warriors put together a rally using two walks and two doubles to score three times and then held Northfield scoreless in the 7th for the victory.

Woodbury had several opportunities through the first five innings, stranding base runners in all but one inning, including leaving the bases loaded in the 2nd, but could not come up with a clutch hit to score any of them. Rob Beard kept the Warriors in the game with a very solid performance, giving up only two runs, mostly on groundballs and flares.

With two outs in the 6th, Bob Kaufer hustled to turn a hit down the left field line into a double. From there, Kaufer again used his speed to take third and then score on wild pitches. The next two hitters, Jerry Ross and Rich Beard both battled through tough at-bats, fouling off several pitches, to work out walks. Kent Rogers then doubled to the gap in left-center, allowing both runners to score. Rogers was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple, but the damage was already done.

The Warriors had a minor scare in the 7th when Northfield put runners on first and second with one out, but the Millers foolishly made the third out at 3rd base when the runner attempted to tag up on a medium fly ball to right field. The play could have gone either way, but the runner was called out to end the game amid loud protests from the Northfield players.